Many developers don’t want to become managers, according to the latest Stack Overflow Developer Survey.
Based on 61,232 responses, some 33.3 percent of developers said they didn’t want to become managers in the future; slightly more (36.4 percent) said they weren’t sure. Meanwhile, 25.4 percent said they wanted to assume a managerial role at some point, and 4.9 percent indicated they were already a manager.
“Those who say they do not want to be a manager have more years of experience than those who do, with twice as many years of professional coding experience,” Stack Overflow noted. “Developers who are interested today in entering a management path likely have such a career path ahead of them, or perhaps some will change their mind!”
Another survey question offers a possible clue into developers’ feelings about the managerial track: when asked whether developers needed to become managers in order to make more money, some 51.3 percent of respondents said “no,” while 29.2 percent said “yes” and 19.6 percent weren’t sure. It’s clear that many developers don’t see a refusal to jump into a manager role as a career impediment, at least as far as compensation is concerned.
Management often requires different skills than coding, and it’s no surprise that developers who simply want to build programs will look askance at the “opportunity” to assume leadership over a team.
That being said, if you’re interested in cold, hard cash, then management often offers a great opportunity to land the paycheck you feel you deserve. According to the latest Dice Salary Survey, upper-level management (i.e., the C-suite) can earn an average annual salary of $142,063—and that’s before you consider benefits like stock options.
Meanwhile, Dice’s data indicates that management-level strategists can earn an average of $127,121 per year, and project managers can expect to pull down $110,925. That’s pretty good, although developers don’t do too shabbily, either—for example, an applications developer earns an average of $105,202 (a year-over-year increase of 7.6 percent).
In addition, many companies are waking up to the fact that not everyone aspires to management. If you’re interviewing with a company, and you have no interest in an eventual managerial slot, ask about non-managerial career paths; many firms will place senior engineers on the level of executives and senior managers, for instance.